NFL draft talk spilled into May as the various draft classes were analyzed and graded. The Lions came out with mostly high marks, including Mel Kiper’s highest grade. With the draft fading back in the rear view mirror, the realities of the lockout sunk in. Players and coaches were not allowed to speak, there were no mini-camps and information was hard to come by. Fortunately, anecdotal evidence suggested that Matthew Stafford was progressing well following his shoulder surgery and he started throwing passes to Calvin Johnson and Titus Young during some informal workouts at Georgia Tech.
Optimism was riding high in Lions-land and it was evident in strong response for season tickets, even as early as May with no guarantee of a 2011 season. That optimism spilled over into grand talk about big names the Lions could pursue once free agency began; Nnamdi Asomugha was mentioned more than any other player. Others wondered if the Lions should appear on HBO’s Hard Knocks. In an effort to engage those fans in a small matter of team affairs, head coach Jim Schwartz put out the call to give a nickname to the Detroit Lions defensive line.